In south Indian Movies, occasionally some Hindi songs were used. Janaki amma got to some interesting songs among them in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam movies. Let us go through 10 of such gems in this article..
(1) Main to gunguroo – Ninamaninja Kaalpaadukal – M S Baburaj
This must have been very first time Janaki amma sang a full length Hindi song in South indian movie. Co incidentally, it is very first song Baburaj sir composed for Janaki amma. He was such an expert in bringing out very best of Hindustani essence. He used Janaki amma’s golden string like young vocals to establish the longing and devotion of Meera bai in this evergreen Meera Bhajan… This song served as a kick start for beautiful melodies that came from this combination.
(2) Tu Hai Raja – Varumayin Niram Sivappu – M S Viswanathan
Balachander sir would not compromise in any experimentation and musically he was boundless as he had great MSV sir with him in most of his musicals. ‘Varumayin Niram Sivappu’ is a wonderful musical from this combination. ‘Tu Hai Raja’, an underrated gem from this movie had Janaki amma singing complete song in Hindi ending with soothing ‘Poove poove’ in Tamil movie and ‘Andam chandam anurgam’ in Telugu version ‘Akali rajyam’. It was P B Srinivas sir who penned such a romantic lyrics. This song was rich not only in vocabulary but also in wonderful imaginative lyrics! On screen beautiful pair of 80′s Sridevi – Kamalhasan added beauty to the song!
(3) Kaise kahoon – Nandu – Ilayaraja
Without second thought, Raja sir explored everything musically possible in Janaki amma’s voice. In Nandu movie, he paired her vocals with Hindi singer Bhupinder. High pitched voice of Janaki amma and rich base voice of Bhupinder sir were simply perfect for this melodious composition. Hindi music director Bappi lahri got to listen the song from Swaminathan while rerecording of the movie. He asked ‘Who is this girl singing so sweet’ and Swaminathan sir replied with a pride in face ‘She is not a girl but a famous singer in South’. This is the beginning of collaboration of Bappida with Janaki amma which continued for nearly decade with more than 100 songs in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada ..
(4) Hum Hain Akele – Nandu – Ilayaraja
There is another dance sequence in same movie ‘Nandu’ which was a out and out Hindi solo. Janaki amma brought the mujra affect but keeping South Indian audience in mind. Her brigas and breath taking improvisations to this dance number are awesome!
(5) Hum hain jawan – Nandu – Ilayaraja
This was the original song composed for above situation but got shelved for some unknown reasons. Luckily, the recording is preserved and we got to listen this lovely melody. Raja sir must have loved his own composition that he gave life to it in another Tamil solo ‘Pen Mayile’ also sung by Janaki amma.. Such a lovely composition and romantic lyrics it had!!
(6) Tholi chupu cheli raisna – Rajkumar – Ilayaraja
Rajkumar a Telugu movie, remake of Kannada ‘Chalisuva Modagalu’ had wonderful music composed by Raja sir. In this duet, Balu sir sings Telugu lines and Janaki amma sings Hindi lines. Heroine in this story is from North India and hence director must have opted for Hindi lines in this song .. Janaki amma’s expressive ‘acha’/'shukriya’/'phir’ and Balu sir’s soulful singing would haunt us for days together after listening to this melody. Raja sir’s piano/violins ..aah ..!
(7)Jheel kinare – Thadakam – A T Ummer
Thadakam is a Malayalam movie which had a Hindi song composed by A T Ummer sir and lyrics again by PBS sir!! Everything in this song is beautiful – whether it is two beautiful girls (Seema and Sumalatha) singing in open air rowing their boats full of flowers or beautiful lyrics of PBS sir or classic tune set with Kashmiri touch by Ummer sir or Janaki amma’s full throated singing full pf energy and emotion!
(8) Khana Peena Mouj udana – Sri Krishnadevaraya – T G Lingappa
Sri Krishna Devaraya – A movie which Kannada cinema must be proud of. Rajkumar sir was just perfect as Krishnadevaraya in this movie. It had evergreen songs composed by T G Lingappa sir, almost all songs sung by Janaki amma along with PBS sir, Suseela amma, Solamangalam Rajyalakhmi amma and P Leela amma ..! It is really an album to cherish forever for every admirer of Janaki amma!
For similar situations, prior melodies like ‘Rasika Salade’ and others had Kannada lyrics with Arabic/Persian feel but this dance sequence had complete Hindi lyrics ..!
(9) Kya hua aaj – Raja Nagendra
Famous music director duo Rajan -Nagendra composed this tune for the first time as ‘Jeeva Veene’ for Kannada movie ‘Hombisulu’ which remains as all time hit song in Kannada cinema. Later, they reused same tune for Telugu movie Intinti Ramayanam as ‘Veena Venunvaina’, which is again a bit hit in Telugu. If these two versions are Balu-Janaki duets, ‘Aadal paadal’ from Tamil movie ‘Veetukku Veedu Vasapadi’ is a melodious solo by Janaki amma. As if all these versions were not enough, Janaki amma came up with a Hindi version to mesmerise audience in her live in concerts. She wrote lyrics herself!! It is a sheer bliss to listen her sing these lines in her golden vocals (with zero instrumentation) ..!!
(10) Mere dil ki dhadkan – Satyam
This is again similar to above song, which is not from a movie or private album but for her own personal recording. She must have loved the tune for immortal ‘Ye divilo virisna parijathamo’ composed by Satyam sir so much that she requested PBS sir (who was expert in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu) to write Hindi lryics for it. He wrote it in such a way as if he was second to none!! Janaki amma rendered this in her own tape recorder and preserved it. Lucky are we that she gifted the same to all of us after all these years! There are couple more instances where she sang Hindi lines in South Indian songs like ‘Mana Jeevithalu Priya natakalu – Magadheerudu’/'Meri Awaaz Sun – Vaa Intha Pakkam’ etc .. but this song would be a perfect ending for this article dealing with her Hindi Lines in South Indian movies..